London has won a share of £40 million from the UK government to develop street lights that double as electric car charging points.
It’s not clear what exactly these street lights will look like, or when they will roll out, but a technology like this was first unveiled in the UK by BMW last year, which is a financial backer of the government scheme.
BMW is competing to work on a pilot for a similar project in nearby Oxford, which was also announced today, but no process has yet been launched for the scheme in London.
The capital’s roll out is slated to start in East London, but spokespeople could not confirm any more details to TNW.
The £13 million ‘Neighborhoods of the Future’ scheme in London will also offer drivers of electric cars free parking and traffic priority, using things like bus lanes, in a bid to encourage more people to buy greener vehicles.
In addition, the Greater London Authority confirmed that there will be 3,000 more hybrid buses and 300 zero-emission single-deck buses by 2020, as well as £600,000 set aside to transform London’s fire brigade with electric vehicles.
In total, four UK cities were chosen to receive multi-million pound grants for going green, with the city of Bristol launching a four-week, try-before-you-buy initiative for people who are interested in owning an electric car.
A further £5 million for R&D was awarded to other projects across the country, including solar-canopied park and ride hubs in York designed to help reduce air pollution.
The Go Ultra Low Cities fund is part of a £600 million pot that also includes grants for electric vehicles, investment in low-emission public transport and more R&D spending on things like long-lasting batteries.
With tech leaders like Tesla already working in the electric car business, as well as Google and Apple eyeing this prize, it’s looking increasingly inevitable that we’ll all be ditching our gas guzzlers in the not-too-distant future.
The cash awarded today, however, pales in comparison to the $4 billion Barack Obama has set aside for the autonomous car industry in the US over the next 10 years.
Will everyone in the UK be charging up their cars themselves within the next decade, while US consumers already have an AI to do it for them?